GOAL #1: Undertake innovative basic research that contributes to the development of cost-effective environmental prevention programs and policies at the local, state, and national levels


Some examples of our basic research include:

Growth and spread of methamphetamine abuse hospital discharges from 1995 to 2008

Mapping the occurrence of alcohol and other drugs

PRC carries out some of the most advanced research in the field using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This type of research allows for the mapping of alcohol and other drug availability and problems in neighborhoods. This makes it possible to determine how problems or substances are distributed across different kinds of neighborhoods. This information can be a valuable resource in understanding what kinds of policies and practices can help prevent substance related problems. For example, the illustration here shows how methamphetamine use and dependence changed over time in California, in part in response to changing laws that reduce the availability of chemicals needed for the manufacture of the drug.

Understanding the etiology of alcohol and drug problems and how it affects health, social, and economic costs.

Understanding how alcohol and other drug problems develop and what kinds of environmental conditions affect this development is imperative in designing prevention approaches. PRC carries out a variety of research projects that shed light on the types of community conditions that can promote or impede alcohol and other drug abuse. For example, studies across a variety of states and communities indicate how laws related to the availability and use of alcohol, impact drinking and driving, underage drinking, and other alcohol-related problems.

The costs of alcohol and drug related problems are an important consideration in developing and implementing appropriate policies and practices. PRC has carried out research that provides a fuller picture of some of these costs, including the economic and human consequences of abuse and misuse.

Planned research includes more detailed estimations of the direct, indirect and total impacts of alcohol outlets on problems related to alcohol.

Research on the relationship between alcohol and other drug availability and impaired drivingResearch on the relationship between alcohol and other drug availability and impaired driving, domestic violence, and other problems
PRC has been a leader in research that shows the relationship between the availability of alcohol and other drugs and a variety of health and social problems. For example, PRC researchers have shown the relationship between the number and location of alcohol outlets in neighborhoods and problems like child abuse and neglect and domestic violence, underage drinking, and drinking and driving.

Planned research includes analysis of the relationships between the types of drinking contexts in which underage drinkers consume alcohol and the types of problems they experience. Additional planned research will examine how the types of places where parents drink affects parenting problems.

Analyzing cultural perceptions of substance useAnalyzing cultural perceptions of substance use
Different cultural groups have different attitudes and behaviors related to alcohol and other drug use. PRC has carried out research showing how members of several American Indian and Asian groups feel about alcohol and drug use and how these attitudes affect their behavior. PRC has also done research on how tobacco use varies among different ethnic groups.

Understanding how the use of alcohol and other drugs can be related to the work placeUnderstanding how the use of alcohol and other drugs can be related to the work place.
PRC researchers have investigated how various occupational groups feel about and use alcohol and other drugs. Research has been done on military populations, transit drivers, auto workers, restaurant workers, day laborers and others. Projects have examined how workplace policies and job stress affect substance use.